Featuring a talented group of 10 entrepreneurs and designers from around the world, Making the Cut is more than just a fashion competition series, as it takes brands to the next level, makes collections available for sale from each week’s challenge winners, and awards $1 million. While the series is hosted by executive producers Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, whose chemistry after years of working together is undeniable, and brings back judges Moschino creative director Jeremy Scott and House of Harlow 1960 creative director Nicole Richie, who definitely add some fire to the mix, the focus is on the designers, the collections and the fashion shows, all leading up to the high stakes finale.
During this interview with Collider, Klum and Gunn talked about the evolution of their dynamic, the surprise success of Project Runway, what they’re most excited about with this group of designers, the fashion show that brought a lot of conflict and the painful experience that resulted, how surprised they were by who ultimately won, and whether the judges were unanimous in their decision.
Collider: I love this show, and a large part of that comes from watching you together. What was the moment that each of you realized that this was going to be a long-lasting partnership between the two of you? Did you have any idea that you would be this kind of long-term work spouses with each other?
TIM GUNN: I didn’t. Going back to 2004, at the beginning of Project Runway, and being so awestruck by Heidi, which I still am, I never dreamed there would be a Season 2, let alone a season 16 or 17. For Heidi and for me, Making the Cut is the dream show that we wanted to see Project Runway evolve into, and that didn’t happen. But now, it is happening on Amazon, and it truly is a dream.
HEIDI KLUM: I have to say, when we did our very first season of Project Runway, I was hoping [it would be successful], obviously, but we were the first show that ever showed how fashion is created and that did a competition like that. How we were filming, we had the lowest of low budgets. I was picking things out of my closet. We were there until three o’clock in the morning because I couldn’t remember any lines, and I had to do them over and over and over again, and everyone was going crazy. It was not until it was all cut together and we saw the final product that I was like, “Yes, we are really onto something. This is really gonna work.” You have these ideas. Going around trying to sell Project Runway, people were like, “Why would we wanna watch anyone sell clothes?” And I was like, “Because it’s interesting and because no one does it.” And here we are, many years later, but at the time, no one saw that coming. We were hoping.
The success of the show is one element, but you guys also have such great chemistry with each other. Was that something you felt right away, or was that something that took some time?
GUNN: I think it evolved.
KLUM: I feel like we loved each other, from the very beginning.
GUNN: Well, that’s true.
KLUM: The thing is, when we put the show together, Tim was not really part of it. It just happened that we met Tim when we were starting to film, and we were like, “Oh, maybe let’s have Tim do some more things with us.” We fell in love, right there, and we put him in the show organically. It just happened.
GUNN: That’s true.
KLUM: We didn’t have a spot for Tim, in the beginning. It just happened really organically. People always called us the oddest couple in fashion, but it always really worked because we have the same love for the industry and for each other, and we have a lot of respect for each other. The love and the friendship has grown stronger and stronger over the years, but once we met, we were like, “Yes, this feels really good and right.”
GUNN: I was terrified that Heidi would be this horrible dictatorial diva, and she’s just the warmest, fuzziest, loveliest person, ever.
It feels like these designers all have a point of view and something to say this season. What are you most excited about with this group of designers for Season 3 and introducing them to the world?
GUNN: We’re excited about getting them out from undercover of darkness. They’ve been in hiding, so to speak, for about nine months, and finally, the world’s going to see them and see how incredibly talented they are.
KLUM: And before those nine months waiting with us, I’d never known of them before. They’ve been on the planet designing for a very long time, but I’d never heard of them before and most people have not. The greatest goal of all of this is putting them on the map. In 260 countries around the world, they finally get to see what these people are all about and how great they are. Even though the nine other designers are not getting the million [dollars], they got seen and they got to show a lot of amazing clothes on the show. I’m sure a lot of people are falling in love with the designers, and are following them now and giving them business. I feel like we are helping these 10 people, not only the winner who gets the million dollars, but also the others because they finally get to show their talent
With most of these fashion shows, there’s good and bad. This season, you had one particular fashion show, with the Festival Wear episode, that you all found really disappointing. You all seemed genuinely upset because you know what these designers are capable of.
KLUM: It’s not just that. It’s also that we’re producing an outfit after every episode, and we were like, “What are we gonna produce here? There’s nothing worthy of being produced?” We don’t wanna put something out there, just to put something out there. So, yes, we were upset, and then we put the twist to it. Those moments happen in the moment. We all huddled, the producers, to figure out what we could do, and then we put a twist to it. The designers hate that, especially when they have to do something in just a few hours, but it’s amazing what they can do in a few hours. Sometimes that’s better than when they have two days.
GUNN: That’s true.
Tim, what was it like to sit there and experience that whole moment? How was it to witness all of that?
GUNN: I cannot tell a lie, it was very painful, and it went on for a very long time. At one point, I left my seat and went to the production office and said, “Who’s going to stop this? Enough already.”